The Wall Street Journal has reported on the controversy between Adan Oktar, a Turkish writer promoted by the global Muslim Brotherhood and best known for his Islamic theories on evolution, and American scientist Richard Dawkins. According to the Journal report.
As scientists around the world celebrate the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s seminal work on evolution, Adnan Oktar, a college dropout turned theorist of Islamic creationism, is working on the fifth volume of a 14-part masterwork that he says will bury Darwinism once and for all. “Darwin and his theory are dead,” says Mr. Oktar, founder and honorary president of the Science Research Foundation, an Istanbul outfit dedicated to debunking the Victorian-era English naturalist. Darwin, says his 52-year-old Turkish scourge, is “Satan’s biggest trick on humanity.” Mr. Oktar, who briefly studied interior design, hasn’t had much success swaying scientists with the weight of his research. “He is a complete and utter ignoramus,” says Richard Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist and Oxford University professor. The physical weight of Mr. Oktar’s work, however, is considerable. Each volume of his anti-Darwin magnum opus, “Atlas of Creation,” weighs more than 13 pounds. Also weighing in on his side are very aggressive lawyers. They’ve repeatedly gone to court in Turkey to silence critics whom Mr. Oktar accuses of spreading “lies and insults.” Scores of Web sites have been banned at his behest. These include the site of Oxford’s Prof. Dawkins, which Mr. Oktar — who writes under the pen name Harun Yahya — got blocked last fall after it posted an article entitled “Venomous Snakes, Slippery Eels and Harun Yahya.” Prof. Dawkins responded to the ban by posting a Turkish translation of the article. Mr. Oktar derides Prof. Dawkins, an outspoken atheist, as “a pagan monk.” Mr. Oktar’s combative zeal has put him in the vanguard of what some secular-minded Turks lament as a dangerous phenomenon: a retreat from science into religious dogma. “We are trying to turn the trend back, but I’m not sure we’ll be successful,” says Aykut Kence, a biology professor at Ankara’s Middle East Technical University.
Although best known as an Islamic “creationist”, Oktar is also famous for his anti-Semitic writings including those promoting holocaust denial. An Israeli research institute reported in 2004 that Oktar had “undergone a change and become more tolerant toward Jews”, but his official biography contains statements that suggest anti-Semitism and his work titled “What Should a Moslem’s View of the People of the Book and Zionism Be?”, currently posted on his website, reflects anti-Semitic themes common to the Muslim Brotherhood. An earlier post discussed comments by Mr. Oktar calling for interfaith dialog while blaming Israeli “atheist Zionists” representing “Masonic forces” for problems in the MIddle East.
In the same interview, Mr. Oktar defended the works of Muslim Brotherhood ideologues Maulana Sayyid Abul A’la Maududi and Sayyid Qutb and Mr. Oktar’s works, usually under his pen name of Harun Yahya, are often promoted on websites belonging to global Muslim Brotherhood organizations. Muzammil Siddiqi, an important U.S. Muslim Brotherhood leader, has written a letter of recommendation praising a book by Mr. Oktar and the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) also promotes the his works.
Reuters recently posted a profile on Mr. Oktar calling him “one of the most widely distributed authors in the Muslim world” and last May reported that Oktar was sentenced to three years in prison for creating an illegal organization for personal gain based on evidence he says was obtained under coercion. The court decision is apparently under appeal.